Expat Health Insurance

Articles on health insurance expats in China will find useful.

Here’s why your business should offer employee health benefits

Here’s why your business should offer employee health benefits

Gone are the days when an employee happily collected their pay and expected little more. In today’s candidate-driven market, employee health benefits are often hailed the crown jewels of a compensation package.

Yes, staying compliant is imperative for every business, but going above and beyond the rest is what makes your company stand out from other competitors. While there are many ways of achieving this, going the extra mile by offering healthcare benefits can be a great way to start.

Here, corporate health insurance specialist Pacific Prime China looks at the top reasons why businesses should offer employee health benefits.

Attract quality talent

55 percent of Chinese employers are set to increase their headcount this year, according to a 2017 China Salary & Employment Outlook survey. As a result, more and more employers are investing their efforts into attracting quality talent across all departments and levels of seniority. While these strategies translate to more optimistic employment opportunities, they also place a further strain on the nation’s candidate-driven market, where top job candidates often receive multiple attractive offers.

In responding to this growing pressure to differentiate against other employers, a growing number of companies are recognizing the need to move beyond monetary benefits alone. In fact, SHRM revealed that two-thirds of HR professionals believe the importance of healthcare related benefits (e.g. corporate health insurance) in recruiting talent will increase over the next three to five years. A 2015 New Benefits Buyers Study further found that almost 80 percent of job candidates consider a company’s employee benefits package when deciding whether or not to accept their job offer.

Retain talent

In addition to attracting talent, the importance of retaining top talent is also taking center stage. Why? One of the largest challenges faced by employers in China today is high employee turnover. When looking at the country’s turnover data over the past few years, the situation appears to be worsening.

In 2012, the employee turnover rate was 18.9 percent. In 2016, the turnover rate shot up to an average of 20.8 percent. Some industries even saw a turnover rate of up to 40 percent. Throw in the fact that over half of millennials, now the world’s largest working generation, are happy to leave their job in favor of better opportunities, and it’s clear to see why offering a competitive employee health benefits package is becoming increasingly important.

Starbucks in China, for example, with a workforce made up primarily of university graduates, sees employee retention as a strategic imperative. The company found in a survey that the majority of their employees consider taking care of their parents as the most powerful benefit they could receive. In responding to workforce needs, the coffee chain is now providing health insurance for the parents of its employees in China.

Enhancing employee-employer relations

Maintaining good employee-employer relations will help reduce workplace conflict, as well as lead to improved staff morale and job satisfaction.

In a Global Employee Benefit Trends China Study, employees were asked to score from seven (strongly agree) to one (strongly disagree) several areas connected with the benefits provision (e.g. “values placed on health & wellness”). They were then asked to agree/disagree with statements that indicate higher levels of employee engagement and commitment to their employer’s goals (e.g. “I am satisfied with the job I have now”, “I feel loyal to my employer”).

And the results? For each one point increase in sentiment around benefits, the study found that there is a 12 percent or more increase in the likelihood of the employee agreeing with positive statements about their employer.

Combat productivity losses

Offering employee health benefits that effectively address both physical and emotional health can go a long way in boosting the overall health of employees. A healthier workforce is less likely to go on sick leave, recover from illness quicker, and are less at risk of developing long term illnesses that require frequent and expensive care.

Healthier employees also translate to a more productive workforce, not just because of reduced absenteeism, but also lowered presenteeism (the loss of productivity from not working at full capacity – e.g. showing up to work despite being ill). Just how significant are the costs of absenteeism and presenteeism? According to new insights by Global Corporate Challenge, absent employees cost companies roughly USD 150 billion every year, and those who came to work but were not fully productive cost USD 1,500 billion each year.

Final advice: Talk to an employee health benefits specialist

Now that you’ve understood the key reasons why you should offer employee health benefits, you might be thinking: “How do I go about implementing an employee benefits program?” As every workforce comes in all different shapes and sizes, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits all benefits package. This, coupled with the lack of transparency in what other competitors are offering, can make it very hard to devise and implement the best-fitting plan for your staff.

This is where talking to an employee health benefits specialist like Pacific Prime China can really make the difference. With years of experience serving clients of all sizes, we’ve helped over 3,000 companies in virtually every industry secure the best employee benefits solutions for their needs. What’s more, the additional support we give to clients (e.g. dedicated account managers and in-house claims team) can really help in taking care of all the administrative hassles of managing your employees’ health benefits.

To learn more about the Pacific Prime China difference, be sure to check out our newly released Beijing and/or Shanghai Corporate Flyer, or contact our friendly team of corporate advisors today.

Posted by Jess in Expat Health Insurance, Group Health Insurance, Health Insurance
Public Shanghai hospitals, VIP clinics, and international hospitals: 6 key differences

Public Shanghai hospitals, VIP clinics, and international hospitals: 6 key differences

“Where should I go for care?” is usually one of the top questions asked by newcomers to Shanghai. Ever since mid-2014, when the Chinese government permitted wholly foreign owned hospitals in seven cities and provinces, the quality and choice of care for locals and expats have improved considerably. Primary healthcare choices available to expats and residents today include public Shanghai hospitals, the VIP clinics present at larger public hospitals, and international hospitals/clinics. Here, we’ve highlighted the main differences between the three types of facilities.

1. Booking an appointment

Few public Shanghai hospitals offer the ability to book appointments, and in most cases people who use such facilities will need go to the hospital and buy a registration ticket there (this will cost around RMB 14). Recent improvements, however, have made it easier to book an appointment through new healthcare apps. That being said, most of these apps require a Chinese ID number, so most expats will not be able to use them.

A select number of public hospitals also have so-called VIP clinics, sometimes in conjunction with foreign companies, where services provided are more personalized, and amenities are more pleasant. These clinics generally allow the ability to book appointments. If you speak little to no Mandarin, however, you may find it difficult to successfully book an appointment over the phone in English. If that is the case, you might just have to show up and request for an appointment in person.

International hospitals generally have a dedicated hotline for booking appointments with your preferred doctor. Administrative staff are generally able to communicate in English, and may be able to speak a range of other languages, too. This means it’s generally quite easy to book an appointment in your preferred language. Many international clinics and hospitals (e.g. ParkwayHealth) also feature online booking forms on their website, which can make things a lot easier and less time consuming when requesting an appointment.

2. Wait times

As mentioned in our recent article on beating public hospital queues, long wait times and delays in seeking treatment are commonplace in public Shanghai hospitals. The relatively affordable public system not only attracts the majority of Shanghai’s 23 million person population, but also those who live in neighboring areas. This translates to very long wait times that are in most cases well over an hour. Many will even need to miss one day’s work (sometimes even more) to complete their consultation/tests.

To avoid long wait times, VIP clinics and international hospitals would be favorable, as doctors in these facilities will generally be able to see you quickly. As these facilities take care of fewer patients, doctors will likely dedicate more time in treating and learning more about each of their patients. This extra care can be very valuable for patients, as they are more likely to leave the hospital feeling confident that they have received the best care.

3. Cost

One of the largest differences between public Shanghai hospitals, VIP clinics, and international hospitals is cost. Public hospitals in China are much less expensive than the latter facilities. In public hospitals, you can expect to pay less than RMB 20 for a general check-up, and only RMB 150 to see a specialist.

On the other hand, the cost of tests and treatments at VIP clinics can easily be several times the fees charged at standard public hospitals. For example, general consultations start at about RMB 600 at VIP clinics. As can be expected, international hospitals are usually the most expensive. In these facilities, you will likely pay around RMB 1,200 to RMB 1,500 for a general consultation.

As can be seen above, fees charged at VIP clinics and international hospitals are significantly more expensive than standard public hospital fees. This is why many locals and expats alike secure private health insurance to save hundreds and thousands on their medical expenses.

4. Language barrier

If you speak only very basic or no Mandarin at all, and would like to seek care at a public Shanghai hospital, be sure to bring a Chinese-speaking friend along with you when you go to the hospital. This is because most administrative staff, nurses, and other medical staff at public facilities speak little-to-no English. Most local Shanghai doctors can read, write, and speak some English, but not many are fluent.

Doctors and other staff at VIP clinics generally have a better grasp of the English language than their standard public counterparts, but not all staff will be able to speak English fluently or to a reasonable standard. Doctors working in international hospitals, however, are generally foreigners or Chinese who have been trained overseas. Their English skills are, therefore, generally excellent. A number of these doctors are also able to speak several other foreign languages (e.g. French, Japanese).

5. Equipment

Many in China hold the general perception that the equipment used at public Shanghai hospitals are of a higher quality than the equipment in smaller town/city hospitals. Generally speaking, this is true, particularly at larger facilities where you can expect to find reasonably high quality, imported or local equipment. Due to the higher budgets available to VIP clinics, and especially international hospitals, they generally spend more on newer, state-of-the-art medical technology. This can be crucial, especially for more complex procedures.

6. Comfort level

Public facilities are generally less clean than what many people from overseas are used to, and comfort levels can be quite basic – e.g. crowded wards, and only very basic amenities. If you’re staying overnight at a hospital, please be aware that you’ll likely need to bring your own toiletries with you, and food options are often quite limited. Those who want more privacy can choose to stay at VIP semi-private or private wards, which are generally a lot more comfortable and quite similar to those at international hospitals. Their consultation rooms are usually larger, too.

If you’re after some pampering, some international hospitals go one step beyond to offer high-end perks like butler service, personalized meals, and even private clubhouses on hospital grounds. The extra extravagant perks offered at select international hospitals do come with a hefty price tag, but can make all the difference for patients and their families, as well as make recovery a little more bearable.

So, what’s the best Shanghai hospital option for me?

At the end of the day, which facility you go to is entirely up to you. There are many considerations you might want to make, such as what you can afford, as well as your language, and comfort preferences. However, if you are looking to access superior quality and personalized service in the fastest time possible, Pacific Prime China recommends obtaining private health insurance to give you the option of accessing the VIP or international hospital care you desire.

Want to learn more about healthcare in Shanghai?

If you have any more questions, or would like to learn more about healthcare in China’s most populous expat city, download our newly released hospital guide today. Titled: Public and Private Healthcare in Shanghai, the free resource provides handy information not only on the differences between public, VIP, and international hospital care, but also the history of healthcare in China, cost and insurance coverage options, as well as how emergencies are handled.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with our team of experts today. With years of experience in Shanghai, our advisors know the ins and outs of the city’s hospital system, as well as how to find the best plan to access the best care. They’re also on hand to give you impartial advice, as well as a free quote!

 

PvP guide image

 

Posted by Jess in Expat Health Insurance, Health Insurance
6 questions to ask about your current employee health insurance plan

6 questions to ask about your current employee health insurance plan

When it comes to employee benefits, perks like free office massages might do a lot for employee morale, but nothing beats a robust employee health insurance plan for keeping staff happy. In fact, a 2016 Glassdoor study found that the majority of employees and job candidates want health insurance benefits over pay rises.

But, when handed their employee benefits booklet, most workers find it hard to discern whether their corporate health insurance coverage is enough for their needs. This is where reading the policy’s fine print is crucial. Not only will it help you understand what benefits you are entitled to, it will also illuminate the coverage areas that may be lacking and help you avoid any nasty surprises.

In our recent post on top-up insurance, our expert team looked at the importance of top-up plans in making up for the coverage gaps in corporate health insurance policies. To further help you decide whether your current employee health insurance is enough for your needs, this article discusses some of the most important questions to consider:

Is my doctor covered?

In terms of employer-provided health insurance, one of the most popular cost-containment measures implemented by employers in China is limiting cover to a specific network of hospitals and clinics. Please note that you will usually need to pay more for out-of-network care. Additionally, some plans won’t cover care at out-of-network facilities at all, while others will only cover a very small amount or percentage. If it’s important for you to keep seeing the same doctor, it would be a good idea to ask your company’s HR whether your doctor is covered by your health plan. If they’re not sure, check with the insurer or a reputed broker like Pacific Prime China.

What’s the coverage limit?

Another common gap in basic employee health insurance plans is overall low coverage limits for hospitalization and surgery. A limit is the maximum amount your insurance policy will pay for covered services, which means that you will need to pay all the costs that exceed your plan’s limit out of pocket (unless you have a separate or top-up medical policy that can take care of these costs).

A policy’s coverage limit is a key element that should by no means be overlooked, as a large medical bill can easily exceed low insurance limits. This is especially true for those who only/usually seek care at private clinics and hospitals, where costs tend to be much higher than their public counterparts (e.g. a private emergency surgical procedure costs around RMB 50,000).

Does the plan cover pre-existing conditions?

Historically, it was common for group health insurance plans to cover pre-existing conditions, which are any illnesses, ailments, or injuries the policyholder already has or had. However, amidst rising healthcare and health insurance costs, an increasing number of corporate plans are excluding these conditions.

If you have a condition that requires ongoing medical treatment (e.g. diabetes), it’s important to ask or check your policy’s exclusions section to find out whether your plan will cover you for this type of care.

Are there any preventative care and/or maternity benefits?

Another common coverage area that many employees in China find lacking is the exclusion of added benefits like preventative care (e.g. health checkup) and maternity cover. These types of care can be very expensive in China (e.g. a maternity c-section package costs up to RMB 98,000), which is why it’s imperative for you to know whether they’re covered by your plan. This is especially important if you require such healthcare services on a regular basis or in the foreseeable future.

Is care outside of China covered?

Does your plan only cover you in China, or can you rely on it internationally? This is another factor to consider, especially if you’re a globally mobile expat or frequent traveller. If your current employee health insurance only covers you in China and you’re looking for a solution that features wider geographical coverage, we would recommend finding a plan that at least includes both China and Hong Kong cover; this is because Hong Kong has some of the very best hospitals in Asia.

Do I need top-up insurance?

If, after studying your current employee health insurance, you find that there are a number of coverage deficiencies that you want to supplement, a top-up insurance plan might be the best option for you. Designed to fill the coverage gaps and deficiencies in company-sponsored health plans, top-up insurance can take over where your current plan’s benefits end, and also offer additional benefits that are not currently provided (e.g. maternity).

There are, of course, many other considerations you will need to make when deciding whether top-up insurance is right for you. For instance, there’s also the option of purchasing an entirely separate medical insurance plan, in which case there will not be any control over your plan by your employer, so you’ll be able to continue your benefits regardless of your employment status. While this option has its perks, coverage elements may overlap with your current employee plan, and it can often be costlier than arranging a top-up insurance solution.

Don’t just stop at health insurance

When reviewing your employee benefits, don’t just stop at health insurance. Your employer may also offer a wider range of protection solutions like home and contents, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, as well as liability and income protection insurance.

If the above mentioned benefits are something that you feel is important for you to have, but are not currently offered by your employer, be sure to talk to a trusted broker like Pacific Prime China, who will ensure that you get the most optimal solutions at the best possible price.

Download our Beijing and Shanghai Top-Up Guides today

If you are looking to learn more about supplementing your employee health insurance, downloading our recently released Beijing and/or Shanghai Top-Up Guide(s) is a great way to start. Get your free copy of our latest guides by clicking the links below:

If you have any more questions about your employee health insurance, top-up insurance, or any other insurance related matter, be sure to contact our expert team today. With almost two decades of experience matching expats and professionals with the most optimal insurance solutions in China, our team are more than happy to offer their impartial advice, as well as give you a free quote and plan comparison.

 

top-up guide spread

Posted by Jess in Expat Health Insurance, Group Health Insurance, Health Insurance
Tips for staying healthy during your IVF cycles

Tips for staying healthy during your IVF cycles

Recently, we wrote about the release of our new In Vitro Fertilization guide for China. This free resource provides some excellent information and understanding for hopeful parents who have experienced barriers in trying to conceive. Our previous blog article discussed a few of the reasons why parents might find themselves needing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment and, this week, we’re going to talk about a few things that you can do to help support any IVF cycles you might undertake in the future.

What is IVF and how does it work?

In Vitro Fertilization is an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) process that involves manually combining a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm outside of the body. Other forms of ART include gamete intrafallopian transfer and zygote intrafallopian transfer. IVF, however, has become one of the most common and well-known types of ART, which is used for treating infertility in:

  • Women with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
  • Men with infertility issues, including decreased sperm count or motility
  • Women with ovulation disorders, ovarian failure, or uterine fibroids
  • Women who had had their fallopian tubes removed
  • Those with a genetic disorder
  • Those experiencing unexplained infertility

The treatment itself involves four stages; stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs via ovulation induction, retrieval of the eggs from the woman, fertilizing the egg with sperm outside of the body, and finally transferring and implanting the embryo back into the woman. A single IVF cycle can take four-to-six weeks to complete, however, not all cycles are successful. Some women can require multiple cycles to achieve pregnancy, while others may face the tragic news that conceiving may just not happen.

a woman blows dandelion seeds in front of a sunset, symbolizing fertility and the sometimes unpredictable nature of IVF cycles

Why might IVF treatment fail?

While many achieve pregnancy through the help of one or more IVF cycles, the treatment is not a miracle solution. There are a number of reasons that even this medically advanced process might not succeed, but the main ones are:

  • Embryo quality: sometimes the eggs or sperm, even if they combine outside the body, still produce an embryo that won’t succeed in making a woman pregnant.
  • Implantation dysfunction: relates to the problem that some embryos have in properly attaching to the uterus.
  • Embryo transfer issues: related to the skill and expertise of the specialists performing the transfer.

While some of these reasons may be out of your control, there are still a number of things you can do to ensure that you’re giving your body, and your baby, the best chance at survival during IVF.

Supporting your IVF cycles with good choices

Just like anything related to your body, the healthier you can be, the better your chances of succeeding with an IVF cycle. Again, there are always other factors that can come into play and make conceiving a challenge, but here are some helpful tips and suggestions to improve your success rates with IVF:

Research IVF treatments and the clinics you might use

Education is key to feeling in control during treatment. Read books and brochures from specialists about what IVF is, how it works, and what will happen to your body. There’s a wealth of information available out there, so take advantage of it. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be as the process unfolds, and the less unnecessary stress you’ll put yourself under as it happens.

Despite the fact that an embryo transfer might be a common routine these days, experience counts for a lot in IVF cycles. The transfer must be done with care, precision, and a steady hand, so make sure you’re comfortable and confident with the specialist who will perform your transfer. And don’t forget to research the clinics that offer IVF treatments; find out what their success rates are and what support they offer to parents going through IVF cycles.

Get healthy and stay healthy

The Dummies guide on IVF states that there is research that suggests getting into shape before beginning IVF treatment can improve your odds of success. This can be in the form of following a balanced diet, reducing caffeine intake, avoiding smoking, and reducing your weight if possible. Smoking especially can be a risk as tobacco users usually have lower fertility than non-smokers, and this can reduce your chance of IVF success.

Continuing your good health choices throughout your IVF cycles is also important. While you obviously should stay away from rigorous exercise and crazy trampoline parties, looking after your body is one of the best ways to support your embryo taking and a pregnancy occurring.

a lone seed grows through a planting blanket, symbolizing successful IVF cycles

Supplement your health

As with traditional conception, taking supplements like folic acid can help during the early stages of pregnancy by reducing the risk of your baby having neural tube defects. Multivitamins can also be a good addition to your new IVF-supporting health plan, especially vitamins D and B. Some suggest taking supplements as soon as three months before your expected embryo transfer date, but starting a supplement plan at any time should be done after consulting your doctor.

 

Similarly, acupuncture is sometimes suggested as being able to improve your IVF cycles’ success chances. The ancient Chinese traditional healing practice is believed by some to support IVF processes by increasing a mother’s blood flow, and relieving stress. Various studies have come up with differing conclusions on whether or not acupuncture claims are accurate or not, however, it’s worth noting that seeking such treatments are becoming more popular.

Make your decision early if you can

Finally, age is one of the biggest challenges to a successful IVF cycle. Many women and couples seeking out IVF treatment do so because they have waited longer to start a family. That’s definitely a choice you can make, however finding out early if you might have fertility problems can help make IVF more effective. The younger you start IVF, the higher the success rates, as the odds of a successful pregnancy reduce significantly the closer you get to 40.

What else should I know about seeking out IVF in China?

Beyond knowing what you’re in for with IVF, and how best to support it, you might also want to know a bit about the treatments, services, and clinics available in China before you make your decision. Here’s where we can help. Our new In Vitro Fertilization Guide 2017-2018 provides answers to some of the most common IVF-related questions that our clients ask us, such as:

  • Is IVF a common treatment in China?
  • Are there any differences between seeking IVF in Beijing and Shanghai?
  • How much does IVF cost?
  • Will health insurance plans in China cover IVF?

Best of all, this handy resource is free! At Pacific Prime China, we take pride in our reputation of Simplifying Insurance, and the more people we can help understand their health and medical options in China, the better.

If you’ve made the decision to seek out IVF and want to know if health insurance can help you, contact our expert team of consultants today. If you’re looking for more information about health insurance in China, check out our helpful guides page for resources on maternity insurance, top-up insurance, corporate solutions, and a guide on Public vs Private healthcare systems in China.

Posted by Luther in Expat Health Insurance
Private medical insurance in China: How to beat the public hospital queues

Private medical insurance in China: How to beat the public hospital queues

China’s total healthcare sector is expected to surpass USD 1 trillion by 2020, making it one of the fastest growing health markets in the world. The Chinese Government spends just over 5% of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare, but that figure is projected to increase rapidly as the population continues to increase and age. As a result, a wide-ranging reform agenda has been put into motion in China to help it enhance the quality, coverage, and sustainability of the healthcare system for the future.

One of the issues these reforms are poised at addressing is related to overcrowding and overutilization in China’s public health sector. This week, Pacific Prime China discusses how securing China health insurance can help you skip the waiting times and long queues by guaranteeing access to private care.

The challenges for China’s health reforms

China is one of many countries facing questions regarding the standard and sustainability of its public health sector. The reforms, those planned or already introduced, are being delivered by the Chinese government in order to address the following challenges:

  • Rising health expenditure;
  • An imbalance in resources in public hospitals; and
  • A significant projected increase in demand for health services

Failing to act on these red flaags would see further stress placed upon government budgets, something China is working to avoid as it looks to maintain its economy.

Rising expenditure

Rising costs of healthcare are a feature of health systems everywhere, however China’s current situation looks to be at a crucial point. Currently, health expenditure in China has grown at a rate of 11.6% per year. The country’s economy, by way of comparison, has grown at a rate of 9.9% per year, making health expenditure as it stands an important issue for the government to address before it gets higher.

Imbalance of public health resources

The China Europe International Business School presentation on industry growth and policy development highlighted a number of key resourcing challenges facing China’s public health sector. Currently, public facilities in the country make up a significant majority of the resources available; 46% of all hospitals are public facilities, however they make up 83% of all available beds, attend to 87% of all hospital visits, and treat 85% of all inpatient cases.

China has already begun making moves to address staffing challenges, increasing the number of medical and pharmacy college graduates from 270,000 between 1978 and 1987, to 4.1 million between 2008 and 2015. That said, the country’s physician population ratio (14.9 per 10,000 population) still sits behind countries like Brazil (18.9), Mexico (21), the US (24.5), and Russia (43.1).

A significant projected increase in health service demand

As with most public health sectors around the world, overutilization and a projected increase in demand for health services remains the largest challenge in China. Solidiance suggests that the rapidly ageing population in China will accelerate the country’s old age dependency ratio (over 65 year olds divided by the working population less total people from 15-64 years old) at 43% by 2045; making China one of the highest in the world.

While the largest Asian country had previously held concerns that it had too many children to support, decades of the One Child Policy have now delivered a problem of how too few young workers might support its older generations. According to the Population Reference Bureau, over 65 year olds in China are expected to make up almost 25% of the population by the year 2050.

Older demographics often come with a host of serious health issues; chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases), hypertension, and obesity. With more non-working members of Chinese society living longer and being more susceptible to illnesses requiring lengthy and expensive treatment, it’s little wonder the government has made addressing this issue a priority.

Challenges to the public health system

The problems facing many looking to China’s public health system are all related to the above challenges:

  • Hospitals issuing unnecessary prescriptions and procedures in order to raise much needed revenue;
  • Long waiting times and delays in seeking treatment;
  • A common inability to seek the same physician for your care; and
  • An overall dissatisfaction with the quality of healthcare

As such, China’s public sector has been riddled with tales of doctors prescribing expensive drugs and treating patients like cash cows, people scalping tickets to patients who are waiting long hours for hospital consultations, and instances of violence against medical professionals which has resulted in armed police guards standing in as security at some health facilities.

For the government, cost control methods are being developed in order to curb health expenditure and relieve hospital budgets, tighter regulations are being introduced to protect patients against unnecessary treatments and pharmaceuticals, as well as modernizing of facilities and services in order to grow the capacity of the sector to handle the coming demands of China’s population.

Private medical insurance, however, is being viewed by many as a faster, more direct way of overcoming these public health sector barriers without waiting for the long term effects of the Chinese government’s reforms to take place.

How can private health insurance help?

Private health insurance can help people seeking medical care in China by granting them access to the private hospital system. Virtually all China health insurance plans use private facilities due to having next to no wait times, internationally trained staff, a high standard of service, and generally superior facilities when compared with their public counterparts.

Why might you need health insurance? Because the costs associated with private facilities can still be extremely expensive. At a private or international hospital, people can pay between RMB 1,200 and 1,500 to visit a GP, with procedures for things like an emergency appendectomy costing as much as RMB 50,000. Hopeful parents should also be aware that maternity costs at a private hospital can run as high as RMB 98,000.

Medical insurance in China can be really helpful for those of you who travel frequently, with international health insurance plans able to provide coverage and private facility access both in China and abroad. For many highly mobile expats, this can save on the cost and administration of purchasing multiple travel insurance plans every time you leave the country.

What are the most important differences between the public and private health sectors in China?

Beyond what we’ve outlined here, there are a number of specific and peculiar differences between the public health sector and the private hospital system. Understanding what sets them apart is recommended before you make a decision on whether to purchase private health insurance in China. To help you with that, Pacific Prime China has produced a Public and Private Healthcare in Shanghai guide that you can download, free of charge!

Inside, you can get a closer look at what makes up the public and private sectors, what VIP clinics are, and how emergencies are treated in China. Insurance options and costs are also discussed, making this guide a very valuable resource for both new and long-term expats. In addition to this Public vs Private guide, Pacific Prime China has also released a range of other guides related to topics like maternity and IVF as well.

To see our full range of insurance resources, visit our Health Guides page, or alternatively contact our expert team for a discussion on how our advisors can help you.

Posted by Luther in Expat Health Insurance